The Party Seeking Visitation Must Prove That Denying Visitation will Substantially Impair the Child's Best Interest.

In Goodman v. Forsen, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that the "special weight" regarding a fit parent's decision to oppose visitation between a child and a non-parent, such as same-sex partners, is not the parent's burden to prove.

In this case, a same-sex couple split and the former significant other filed an A.R.S. §25-409 petition for visitation. The fit parent of a child (which can mean adoptive parent, see post: In or Out of Wedlock - Same-Sex Parenting Issues, Visitation and Adoption) may deny visitation to a non-parent unless the non-parent can overcome a very high burden.

The burden of the non-parent to prove is that the non-parent seeking visitation must prove that the denial of visitation will substantially impair the child's best interests. This can be an almost impossible burden to overcome. Such a showing takes a great deal of experience with same-sex family law issues, and experience with non-parent visitation and legal decision making cases.

In this case, the Court of Appeals overturned the trial court's ruling giving the non-parent substantial parenting time over the objection of the child's parent. If you are in a same-sex relationship, married or not there are significant issues regarding your parenting and rights thereof. Don't let the courts overrule your parenting rights or wishes. Call our experienced Scottsdale family law attorneys today.

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